Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says projects by the Israeli and Saudi Arabian regimes to portray Iran as a threat to the world have been falling flat over the past years.
Speaking to a group of Iranian expatriates in the Ghanaian capital city of Accra on Monday evening, Zarif said Tel Aviv and Riyadh, “two like-minded regimes,” are investing heavily in Iranophobia to draw attention away from their crimes and their collaborations.
“It is obvious that the cooperation of the Zionist regime (Israel) and the Saudi regime, which are two like-minded and congruent regimes, has today become known and can no more be concealed,” Zarif said.
He said the two regimes are concerned about their collaboration having become publicly known and are thus “investing further in Iranophobia” as a means of distraction.
He said, however, that, “The world has today waken up to the fact that the danger of Wahhabism is the real threat.”
Wahhabism is an extreme ideological strand openly preached by Saudi Arabian clerics, who have the blessing of ruling Saudi authorities. It is the main ideological feature of Takfiri terrorist groups — particularly Daesh — which declare people of other faiths and beliefs as “infidels” and, based on “decrees” from clerics, rule that they should be killed.
Most Arab governments have no diplomatic relations with Israel. Egypt and Qatar are the only two Arab states to have open diplomatic ties with Israel.
Some Arab governments, however, while posing as Israel’s traditional adversaries, have been revealed to have secret ties with the Tel Aviv regime. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are two such countries.
Last week, a retired general in the Saudi military traveled to Israel at the head of a delegation, meeting with Israel’s foreign ministry director general Dore Gold Yoav Mordechai and a number of Knesset members.
Both Riyadh and Tel Aviv were and continue to be fiercely opposed to a nuclear deal between Iran and a group of six world powers.
In his Monday remarks, Foreign Minister Zarif said the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), succeeded in proving to the world the peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program.
The JCPOA was struck between Iran and the US, the UK, France, Russia, China and Germany on July 14, 2015.
Zarif is in Ghana on the second leg of a four-nation African tour. He was in Nigeria before arriving in Ghana and will be traveling to Guinea-Conakry and Mali on the third and fourth legs of his tour.
Iran’s Parliament (Majlis) speaker has condemned the recent deadly bombing in Afghanistan, saying that terrorist attacks are being carried out in the troubled Asian country to create rifts among the people.
“I am of the opinion that terrorism, extremism and threats against the lives of innocent people are unacceptable at all times and in all places and are in stark contrast with religious and Islamic values,” Speaker Ali Larijani wrote in a message of condolence to Fazal Hadi Muslimyar, the chairman of the Afghan Senate, on Sunday evening.
At least 80 people lost their lives and 231 others sustained injuries, some seriously, on Saturday when a bomb explosion hit a peaceful demonstration by members of the ethnic Hazara community in the Afghan capital, Kabul.
The Takfiri Daesh terrorist group later claimed responsibility for the bombing.
Larijani expressed sympathy with the Afghan nation and government as well as the victims’ families over the bomb attack and wished for the immediate recovery of those wounded.
“Unfortunately, by spreading insecurity to other regions, certain parties sponsoring terrorism as well as the agents of the Zionist regime (Israel) seek to take revenge from Muslim and innocent nations… for the effective efforts by the governments of Iraq and Syria in fighting terrorism,” he further wrote.
Iraq and Syria have been involved in fighting Takfiri armed groups wreaking havoc in the two countries. Both governments have been successfully pushing the militant groups back from the areas they had overrun.
Larijani also wrote and expressed his condolences to Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi, the speaker of the lower house of the Afghan parliament.
In his message to Ibrahimi, the Iranian parliament speaker expressed concern that terrorist attacks are on the rise across the world, which he said make combating such acts “necessary and inevitable.”
By Brandon Turbeville | Activist Post | July 22, 2016
While the United States attempts to back away from its association with terrorist group Nour al-Din al-Zinki, the “moderate” terrorist organization whose members recently videotaped themselves beheading a young boy and discussing whether or not to boil his body afterwards, previous reports coming the from the mainstream media reveal that Obama, Kerry, Clinton and crew will not be able to cover their tracks so easily this time around. That is, if they even care to.
This is because reports coming from Business Insider in 2015 reveal that the United States had indeed supported and armed Nour al-Din al-Zinki in the lead up to the heinous act. What’s even more damning, however, is the fact that the group was considered one of the U.S. “vetted” organizations, a designation that was touted as a sure way to avoid arming “extremist” terrorists like ISIS or al-Qaeda.
The lie of vetting and “moderation” is now thoroughly debunked if, for no other reason, than the public beheading of a child.
But there is more! Not only has the United States “vetted,” endorsed, and armed Nour al-Din al-Zinki, it has armed them with TOW missiles, a type of guided missile that is capable of piercing and damaging tanks, armored personnel carriers, and other forms of vehicles found on the battlefield. These missiles are especially dangerous for a number of reasons including the fact that they can be used from a considerable distance.
As Jeremy Bender wrote for Business Insider in his article, “These CIA-Vetted Syrian Rebel Groups Fighting Assad Are Russia’s Primary Targets,”
Since 2013, the CIA has been training and equipping various moderate rebel elements in the Syrian civil war in an effort to undermine the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and force him to the negotiating table.
Among the range of munitions and supplies that the CIA has funneled to the various brigades of the Free Syrian Army and other moderate groups through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Turkey are TOW anti-tank missiles.
. . . . . .
These weapons have helped decimate Syrian armour and pushed a recent regime offensive against rebel-held territory to a standstill in reported “tank massacres.”
For instance, on October 8, a Syrian armoured offensive suffered massive casualties as, rebels armed “with US-made TOW missiles … [and] other guided rockets … caused the destruction … of over 15 armoured cars, vehicles, and tanks,” according to the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights.
What is striking is just how many CIA-vetted groups now exist throughout Syria receiving TOWs.
According to Syrian observer Hasan Mustafas, no fewer than 42 vetted groups now receive TOWs from a Saudi supply originally provided by the US. These weapons are funneled into Syria through Military Operations Command (MOC) posts in Turkey and Jordan that are co-operated by Western and local intelligence agencies.
The various groups are well documented due to the nature of TOW provisions. Saudi Arabia can not deliver the US-supplied TOWs without prior CIA approval. Additionally, Mustafas notes, the various vetted groups must apply to receive the TOWs. They are then provided with small batches of arms.
Bender provides a list of the groups who received the TOW missiles but, among them, is the name of Nour al-Din al-Zinki, the child beheading and carcass boiling “moderate” rebels that allegedly representing freedom and democracy.
Still, State Department Spokesman Mark Toner is only stating that the beheading of the boy might only cause the United States to “pause” and reflect upon its relationship with the group, meaning arming and supporting it.
At the end of the day, the horrific atrocity that was committed by Nour al-Din al-Zinki was really nothing more than several more pints in a massive ocean of blood created by the United States, Israel, the GCC, and NATO. Still, it stands as yet another example of why this treacherous and immoral war against Syria must be ended immediately.
The list of terrorist organizations “vetted” and provided with TOW missiles as reported by Business Insider is as follows:
13th Division (Forqat 13)
101st Division Infantry (Forqat 101 Masha’a)
Knights of Justice Brigade (Liwa’ Fursan al-Haqq)
Falcons of the Mountain Brigade (Liwa’ Suqour al-Jabal)
Grouping of the Falcons of Al-Ghab (Tajamuu Suqour al-Ghab)
1st Coastal Division (Forqat Awwal al-Sahli)
Gathering of Dignity (Tajammu al-Izza’)
Central Division (Al-Forqat al-Wasti)
46th Division (Forqat 46)
Sultan Murad Brigade (Liwa’ Sultan Murad)
Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement, (Harakat Nour al-Din al-Zenki)
Mujahideen Army/Army of Holy Warriors (Jaish al-Mujahideen)
Revolutionaries of al-Sham Brigades (Kata’eb Thuwar al-Sham)
1st Regiment (Al-Fauj al-Awwal)
Ahmed al-Abdo Martyrs’ Force (Quwwat al-Shaheed Ahmad al-Abdo)
Al-Rahman Legion (Faylaq al-Rahman)
Martyrs of Islam Brigade (Liwa’ Shuhadah al-Islam)
Yarmouk Army (Jaish al-Yarmouk)
Lions of Sunnah Division (Forqat Usood al-Sunnah)
the 18th March Division (Forqat 18 Adhar)
Southern Tawhid Brigade (Liwa’ Tawhid al-Junoub)
Hamza Division (Forqat al-Hamza)
1st Artillery Regiment (Al-Fauj al-Awwal Madfa’a)
Syria Revolutionaries Front — Southern Sector (Jabhat Thuwar Souriya)
The First Corps (Faylaq al-Awwal)
The Dawn of Unity Division (Forqat Fajr al-Tawhid)
Salah al-Din Division (Forqat Salah al-Din)
Omari Brigades (Tajammu Alwiyat al-Omari)
Unity Battalions of Horan Brigade (Liwa’ Tawhid Kata’eb Horan)
Youth of Sunnah Brigade (Liwa’ Shabbab al-Sunnah)
Moataz Billah Brigade (Liwa’ Moataz Billah)
Sword of al-Sham Brigades (Alwiyat Saif al-Sham)
Dawn of Islam Division (Forqat Fajr al-Islam)
Supporters of Sunnah Brigade (Liwa’ Ansar al-Sunnah)
Horan Column Division (Forqat Amoud Horan)
Emigrants and Supporters Brigade (Liwa’ Muhajireen wal Ansar)
Military Council in Quneitra and the Golan
United Sham Front (Jabhat al-Sham Muwahidda)
69th Special Forces Division (Forqat 69 Quwwat al-Khassa)
11th Special Forces Division (Forqat 11 Quwwat al-Khassa)
Partisans of Islam Front (Jabhat Ansar al-Islam)
Al-Furqan Brigades (Alwiyat al-Furqan)
A senior Iranian commander strongly criticizes France and Saudi Arabia over their cooperation with the anti-Iran terrorists, including the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO), saying any act of terror in the Islamic Republic would be blamed on Riyadh and Paris.
“Incriminating finger would be pointed at Riyadh and Paris over potential acts of terror in Iran,” Deputy Chief of Staff of Iran’s Armed Forces, Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri, said on Sunday.
Paris on July 9 hosted an annual meeting organized by the MKO terrorist group which was attended by former Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Turki al-Faisal. The former Saudi spy chief gave a 30-minute-long address to the gathering.
The MKO is the most hated terrorist group among the Iranians because of its dark history of assassinations and bombings and for siding with Saddam Hussein in his eight-year war against Iran in the 1980s.
Jazayeri said the Paris meeting in the presence of some Western political officials and the former Saudi intelligence chief further cast light on the link between Wahhabism and the MKO terrorists and marked a stain on the French government’s record and constituted a blatant act of intervention in the internal affairs of the Islamic Republic.
“Hosting the MKO terrorist group as one of the most dangerous and criminal terrorist groups in the world and the presence of Arab and Western political figures show these countries’ support for terrorism,” he said.
“Although the evil hands of the MKO traitors have been cut off thanks to the resolve of the Iranian nation as well as the vigilance and readiness of the Armed Forces and security and intelligence organizations, the network of founders and promoters of global terrorism jumps at every opportunity to revive this deceased and hated current and present it as an active and influential element against [Iran’s] Islamic revolution and establishment,” the Iranian commander added.
Jazayeri said terrorism is an ominous phenomenon that takes many forms and shapes, including Takfiri-Salafi groups like Daesh, counter-revolutionary groups supported by Zionists, the US and their allies, atrocities committed in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, Saudi war crimes against Yemen and MKO terrorism in the past but they all share a “single evil spirit.”
He added that hegemonic powers “see terrorism as a tool for achieving their ominous objectives” and devise their policies accordingly.
Jazayeri expressed regret that the Saudi regime and other “reactionary regimes in the region” are conspiring with the US and the Zionists in spreading acts of terror in Muslim states, saying, “The Muslim world is today the main target of the international terrorism.”
He said France’s double-standard polices regarding terrorism and its classification of terrorist groups into good and bad as well as its blatant discriminatory policies have contributed to the rise of international terrorism.
“The role of the French in supporting and directing the phenomenon of terrorism is undeniable,” the commander said, adding, “The advocates of combating terrorism, especially Western governments, better set aside their dual policies and genuinely step into the arena of fighting the ominous phenomenon of terrorism.”
The recently released, previously classified report titled, “Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001″ (.pdf), reveals that indeed long-time US ally, Saudi Arabia, had connections to the alleged hijackers who purportedly carried out the 9/11 attacks.
While the US would go on to invade Afghanistan and Iraq predicated on the 9/11 attacks, it should be noted that all of the alleged hijackers were either Saudis or Persian Gulf citizens, or connected to terrorist organizations supported by Persian Gulf states.
The Western media has attempted to downplay the impact of the document’s release, claiming that subsequent investigations found the “many” of the allegations in the document “without basis” – even as the US and Saudi Arabia today openly arm and fund terrorists in Syria.
To Whose Benefit? 9/11
Many mistakenly believe on one hand terrorism is simply an inevitable clash of civilizations between “Islam” and the West, while others maintain it is the predictable backlash to flawed or unjust Western foreign policy.
In reality, it is neither.
It is meticulously engineered violence used as a tool for achieving geopolitical objectives around the world – from overthrowing governments and justifying military interventions, to creating paralyzing fear and hysteria at home to garner support for a growing domestic police state and a large military footprint overseas.
In essence, it is a highly conductive medium through which modern day empire can spread.
This can clearly be seen through the use of terrorism today. Some 14 years after the September 11, 2001 attacks, and as memories begin to fade, the US finds itself partnered with Saudi Arabia once again, arming and funding terrorists to fight their proxy wars in Libya, Syria, Iraq, and beyond, just as they did in the 1980s when they jointly created Al Qaeda to begin with.
As the pendulum of geopolitical necessity swings from needing heavily armed, fanatical proxy forces to fight abroad, to needing a pretext at home to initiate large-scale military interventions overseas, these terrorist organizations are characterized by Western politicians and the media in a similarly shifting manner. During the 1980s Al Qaeda was portrayed as “freedom fighters.” In 2001 when the United States sought to use full-scale military force to rearrange the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia, Al Qaeda was transformed into a villain.
The 2001 terrorist attacks allowed the US to justify over a decade of global-spanning war that it otherwise would have been unable to wage.
The Hijackers Had Ties to Saudi Intelligence
The 28 pages now declassified depicts a tangled web of connections between the Saudi government, Saudi intelligence agencies, the Bin Laden family, and the hijackers – most of whom were Saudi citizens themselves.
The report states:
While in the United States, some of the September 11 hijackers were in contact with, and received support or assistance from, individuals who may be connected to the Saudi Government. There is information, primarily from FBI sources, that at least two of those individuals were alleged by some to be Saudi intelligence officers.
The report also reveals that the suspected Saudi intelligence officers worked for companies that had ties to both the Saudi government, and Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden (spelled: Usama Bin Ladin throughout the report).
And not only did various Saudi intelligence officers have connections to the alleged hijackers, several are revealed to have known each other as well.
Mentioned also is Osama Bin Laden’s half-brother, Abdullah Bin Ladin, claimed to have worked for the Saudi Embassy in Washington D.C. as an “administration officer,” revealing once again the incestuous ties between the Bin Ladin family, the Saudi government, and through equity firm – the Carlyle Group – the Bush family and other political and business leaders in the United States.
The report also mentions that despite the many apparent links, and attempts by the FBI to investigate them further, many suspects were inexplicably able to “leave” the United States and return to Saudi Arabia.
The report also referred to “mosques” either directly funded by the Saudi government in which various aspects of terrorism were thought to be coordinated, or mosques in which associates of the hijackers met frequently or operated out of.
This illustrates precisely how the US-Saudi terror enterprise keeps its ranks full – through a global network of centers masquerading as mosques, protected by law enforcement and intelligence organizations linked to the West, allowing for both the recruitment and radicalization of terrorists, as well as the planning and financing of terrorism itself.
US Intelligence Community Before 9/11: Incompetence or Collusion? Or Both?
The US and Saudi Arabia helped create Al Qaeda and for years used the organization to wage proxy war around the world. It’s actions on 9/11 then helped set the stage for a decade of war in which the US toppled governments, occupied nations, while conducting covert warfare against others, expanding US hegemony across the globe, and dividing and destroying nations allied to its rivals in Beijing and Moscow.
It is very clear that Saudi Arabia played a role in the 9/11 attacks, as well as in terrorism of all kinds around the world before and after the attacks.
Clearly the FBI and the CIA both were aware of Saudi Arabia’s role. It is also clear that efforts were made to protect valuable Saudi assets by spiriting them out of the country as dutiful agents attempted to do their jobs by investigating them further. Those who spirited Saudi agents and officials out of the country, protecting them from further investigation regarding their role in 9/11, are likely linked to those Americans who helped their Saudi counterparts organize and carry out the attacks.
And while some FBI and CIA agents attempted to do their job, one comment toward the end of the 28 pages reveals that perhaps agents were not as aware as they should have been regarding the nature of Al Qaeda and its relationship to Saudi Arabia.
The report quotes a former FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge, saying:
Basically [redacted]. They were not a country identified by the State Department as a state sponsor of terrorism. And the theme or the common modus operandi that we saw in San Diego was that if there were [redacted] there, their primary objective was to monitor dissidents in the interest of protecting the royal family. So they were not viewed as an inimical threat to national security.
The agent’s conclusion is based entirely on the assumption that the State Department’s terrorist designations are meaningful and accurate. If such designations are not accurate, then the FBI would have neglected to fully investigate suspects who were indeed very much an inimical threat to national security.
Today, Al Qaeda and the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” (ISIS) are likewise portrayed as enemies of Saudi Arabia. This is despite clear evidence showing both terrorist organizations and their affiliates in Iraq and Syria, are armed and funded by, as well as working in the direct interests of Riyadh – as well as Washington. When terrorist attacks do unfold in Saudi Arabia, despite being portrayed as attacks aimed at Riyadh itself, they are often instead aimed at Shia’a targets throughout the country.
Shia’a in Saudi Arabia, unlike Al Qaeda and ISIS, do represent a threat to Riyadh – not predicated on fanatical extremism – but instead upon self-defense against the brutality and injustice of the Saudi political system which specifically targets Shia’a.
It appears that some agents, despite laboring under faulty assumptions, did attempt to do their jobs, while others appear to have been protecting suspects very likely tied to the 9/11 attacks, and possibly even tied to the attacks themselves. Together, through incompetence and collusion, the attacks unfolded, and the rest – as they say – is history.
Protecting Saudi Terrorism Then and Now
While the Western media now claims that many of the declassified report’s allegations have been found to be “without basis,” the heavy redaction throughout the report leads one to believe that Saudi Arabia and the various tentacles of its security apparatus reaching into the United States are still being covered up by complicit American agents and interests.
Additionally, despite the very troubling implications of the report’s contents, it should be noted that in the aftermath of 9/11 the US, along with Europe, continued supplying Saudi Arabia with billions of dollars worth of military weapons while politically supporting Riyadh during its own brush with the “Arab Spring” in 2011. Today, despite evidence of Saudi Arabia’s arming and funding of designated terrorist organizations including Al Nusra, the US and Europe continue lending military and political support to Riyadh nonetheless.
Saudi Arabia didn’t victimize the United States on 9/11, nor trick Washington. Riyadh and Washington are partners in crime, at times in lockstep, at other times posing as adversaries when maximum plausible deniability is desired.
Despite attempts to claim Saudi Arabia is blameless in the 9/11 attacks, the hijackers were undoubtedly Saudis, inspired by indoctrination that originated in Saudi-funded networks, allegedly approached and assisted by Saudi intelligence agents, and representative of terrorist organizations Riyadh to this day still arms, funds, and uses to wage it and America’s proxy wars with.
The report is not really a revelation, but instead another piece of evidence that affirms the US and Saudi Arabia are collaborators in terrorism, not partners fighting it. Those who depend on either in a true fight against global terrorism, should be prepared for perpetual failure.
The failed coup in Turkey last week was a political and geopolitical earthquake as it has the potential to fundamentally alter the Middle East, NATO, and potentially the balance of power globally. But while the implications of the recent developments are clear, what actually took place on the night/morning of July 15 – July 16 is still somewhat shrouded in mystery. But why is that? Why are the connections for the most part not being made by Western pundits and journalists alike?
Here again we run into the controlled corporate media apparatus, one which is dominated by the very same interests that dominate the governments of the US and EU, and its incredible power to misinform. As the great Michael Parenti famously wrote, “[The media’s] job is not to inform but disinform, not to advance democratic discourse but to dilute and mute it. Their task is to give every appearance of being conscientiously concerned about events of the day, saying so much while meaning so little, offering so many calories with so few nutrients.”
Nowhere is Parenti’s contention more true than with the coup in Turkey. For while the media has certainly reported the allegations from President Erdogan and his government of the hidden hand of US-based billionaire Fetullah Gulen, almost none of the major media outlets have done the necessary investigation to uncover the real significance of Gulen and his movement. Specifically, and almost as if by magic, there is virtually no mention of Gulen’s longstanding ties to the CIA, his penetration of the various institutions of the Turkish state, nor is there any serious investigation into the financial networks and connections leading from Gulen to nearly every corner of the Islamic (and non-Islamic) world.
And while Gulen, along with many neocons in the US, have been propagating the narrative that President Erdogan and his forces themselves staged the coup in order to justify the ongoing crackdown on political rivals, secularists, and other anti-Erdogan forces, the media by and large has not connected the events in Turkey to their larger geopolitical significance, one which should shed some light on what may have happened. And, in a further dereliction of duty, the media has also mostly ignored the absolutely critical likelihood of the involvement of US-NATO intelligence.
History as a Guide
From Iran in 1953 to Chile in 1973 and countless other countries, the CIA and its intelligence agency cousins in NATO have been involved in myriad coups similar to the one that took place in Turkey last week. However, one would be remiss in not noting the striking similarities between the 2016 coup in Turkey and the one that took place on September 12, 1980.
Throughout the mid to late 1970s Turkey saw a major upsurge of terrorism and violence, much of which was attributed to fascist formations such as the Grey Wolves, along with other groups. However, what is now known is that much of the violence took the form of provocations which many experts allege were orchestrated by CIA-affiliated individuals and networks.
Perhaps the most significant of these was Paul Henze, a man who spent decades as an intelligence coordinator in Ethiopia, Turkey, and elsewhere throughout the Cold War. As Daniele Ganser noted in his book NATO’s Secret Armies: Operation GLADIO and Terrorism in Western Europe, “A right wing extremist on trial later plausibly argued that the massacres and terrors of the 1970s had been a strategy to bring [coup leader General] Evren and the military right to power: ‘The massacres were a provocation by the [Turkish intelligence agency] MIT. With the provocations by the MIT and the CIA the ground was prepared for the September 12 coup.’” (p. 239)
But of course, these actions did not take place in a vacuum; there were intelligence operators in place who facilitated the events that took place. As renowned author and media critic Edward Herman and co-author Frank Brodhead wrote in their 1986 book The Rise and Fall of the Bulgarian Connection :
“Paul Henze began his long CIA career under Defense Department cover as a “foreign affairs adviser” in 1950. Two years later, he began a six-year hitch as a policy adviser to Radio Free Europe (RFE) in Munich, West Germany. By 1969, Henze was CIA chief of station in Ethiopia, and he served as station chief in Turkey from 1974 through 1977. When Zbigniew Brzezinski assembled his National Security Council team for President Jimmy Carter, Henze was hired as the CIA’s representative to the NSC office in the White House.”
Considering the intimate connection between Henze and Brzezinski, it is not hard to see that Henze was essentially involved in the same global operation as Brzezinski, namely the weaponization of terrorism for strategic gain against the Soviet Union. And while Brzezinski famously masterminded the creation of the mujahideen in Afghanistan, Henze already had achieved similar results in Turkey, organizing right wing forces for the purposes of destabilization. In his book, Gansler cites counter-terrorism scholar and expert on GLADIO operations Selhattin Celik, who wrote in 1999 that:
“[When US President Jimmy Carter] heard about [the 1980 coup in Turkey] he called Paul Henze, former Chief of the CIA station in Turkey who had left Ankara shortly before the coup to become a security adviser to President Carter in Washington on the Turkey desk of the CIA… Carter told Henze what the latter already knew: ‘Your people have just made a coup!’ The President was right. Paul Henze, the day after the coup, had triumphantly declared to his CIA colleagues in Washington: ‘Our boys have done it!”
Celik bluntly referred to Henze as “the chief architect of the September 12, 1980 coup.” It’s not hard to see why. From having been on the ground in the early to mid-1970s, to then becoming a coordinator in Washington while being the point person on Turkey for the National Security Council under Brzezinski, Henze was clearly instrumental. As Gansler notes, according to Celik, “Brzezinski supported the position of Henze. During a discussion in the National Security Council of the situation in Iran where in 1979 Khomeiny [sic] had seized power Brzezinski expressed his view that ‘for Turkey as for Brazil a military government would be the best solution.’”
While none of this should come as a surprise to anyone remotely familiar with how US intelligence operated in the Cold War, perhaps the depth of the connections between US intelligence, its NATO cousins, and the Turkish military and deep state represent something of an epiphany. As Turkish politician and social activist Ertugrul Kurkcu wrote in Covert Action Quarterly in 1997:
The close ties between the Turkish, US military, and intelligence circles, along with US concerns over Turkey’s military cooperation, have been major obstacles in Turkey’s path to broader democracy. [Turkish politician and journalist Fikri] Saglar charges that US interest in Turkish affairs is not confined to official NATO relations and trade ties. He points to the notorious message by the CIA’s then-Turkey Station Chief Paul Henze in Ankara to his colleagues in Washington the day after the 1980 coup “Our boys have done it!” Henze crowed. Saglar concludes that foreign intelligence organizations including the CIA, have coopted collaborators from among the extreme-right and exploited them for their particular interests.
In effect, what the 1980 coup demonstrates more than anything is that the Turkish military, as well as the far right fascist terror gangs such as the Grey Wolves, are in various ways assets of the US, and under the thumb of US intelligence. To be sure, one could quibble about the degree to which they are entirely assets, proxies, or simply longtime collaborators, but this distinction is of minor importance. What matters is that the historical record clearly indicates collusion between the Turkish military and deep state and the CIA.
But this is all ancient history, right? Surely these networks and connections have eroded over time, and what happened in 1980 is of only secondary significance to the internal politics of Turkey and the ongoing struggles for power. Well, yes… but on second thought, maybe not.
Who’s Who on the Turkish Chessboard?
In trying to provide analysis of what just took place in Turkey, one must have some understanding of the political factions vying for power in Turkey. They can roughly be broken down into three camps, though there is often overlap between the groups.
The first faction is that of President Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP). Erdogan and the AKP come from the “moderate Islamist” milieu of the Muslim Brotherhood, having spent years fighting against the militantly secular Turkish military and state order. As Dr. Essam al-Erian, a Muslim Brotherhood leader, explained in 2007, “the Muslim Brotherhood is an Islamic group that has a close relationship with all moderate Islamists, the most prominent of which is the Justice and Development Party.”
This point is of critical importance because it connects Erdogan and his political machine to a much broader international network active throughout the Middle East and North Africa. It further provides an explanation as to Erdogan’s seeming fanaticism over the war in Syria and the removal of President Bashar al-Assad whose father crushed the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood in 1982, as well as his unwavering support for former Egyptian President Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood leader deposed by current President Sisi.
The second faction is that of the Kemalists, with its power generally residing in the military and elements of the deep state. They see themselves as the custodians of the legacy of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey. The Kemalists are deeply connected to major capitalist interests in the country, and have a long history of collaboration with the US and NATO. As noted above, the Turkish military has long-standing ties to the CIA and NATO intelligence, and has long been understood as one of the most reliable US-NATO partners.
The third political faction of note is that of Turkish billionaire Fetullah Gulen whose global network of schools has made him into one of the single most powerful individuals in the region, though he runs his network from the comfort of his Pennsylvania estate. Not only has the Gulen network made significant inroads penetrating nearly every state institution in Turkey, it is also hugely influential in the US, both in terms of long-standing ties to US intelligence, and perhaps equally important, its massive lobbying and influence-peddling apparatus. Indeed, in 2010 six major Turkish-American federations with ties to the Gulen movement joined together to create the Assembly of Turkic American Federations (ATAF), a non-profit organization that has become one of the more prominent lobbying groups in Washington dealing with Turkish and Turkic peoples issues.
It is essential to remember that although it is known that last week’s coup was carried out by elements of the military, it is unclear exactly which faction they were representing, or if it was a combination of two. But here it is useful to examine the recent history of the Gulen network (known as Hizmet) and its penetration of state institutions in order to assess what potential role it may have played in the coup.
Connecting the Dots: Fetullah Gulen and CIA Fingerprints on Turkey Coup?
While it is easy to point the finger at the CIA and US-NATO intelligence for anything that happens anywhere in the world – the Empire’s reach is truly global – one must be cautious not to simply assert US culpability without properly drawing out the tangible connections. And in this case, that is doubly true. However, it is here that Gulen’s significance really comes into play, for it is his far-reaching network of contacts, surrogates, and proxies that have penetrated nearly every significant state institution.
Long before last week’s failed coup, analysts had been making the connection between Gulen, infiltration of the Turkish state, and the CIA. As political analyst Osman Softic wrote in 2014:
“Given that the Hizmet sympathizers skilfully [sic] infiltrated some of the most sensitive structures of the state such as the police, intelligence, judiciary and public prosecution, it is quite plausible that this movement may have served as a convenient mechanism for destabilization and even overthrow of the Erdoğan government, by much more powerful and sinister international actors… Gülen himself may have become a convenient pawn in their attempt to destabilize Turkey.”
The allegation that Gulen agents have penetrated all throughout the Turkish state is nothing new. In fact, such assertions have dogged Gulen and the Hizmet movement for at least the last two decades. But it is the connection to US intelligence and the elite circles of US foreign policy that truly completes the picture.
Enter Graham Fuller, former Vice Chairman of the CIA’s National Intelligence Council, whose links to Gulen’s movement run deep. Fuller has gone so far as to defend Gulen on Huffington Post in recent days in an article entitled The Gulen Movement Is Not a Cult — It’s One of the Most Encouraging Faces of Islam Today in which he admits – he had no choice as it is well documented – that he wrote a letter in support of Gulen’s green card application to the US in 2006. Although his rhetoric attempts to distort the nature of, and reason behind, his support for Gulen, Fuller does imply that Hizmet represents a social movement aligned with, and amenable to, US interests, one which could be used as a potent weapon in a critical NATO ally.
Fuller fails to note that he doesn’t simply have a passing connection with the Gulen movement, but that he has attended numerous Gulenist functions including large events, such as those organized by the Turquoise Council for Americans and Eurasians, a reputed Gulenist umbrella organization run by Kemal Oksuz (a.k.a. Kevin Oksuz), a prominent member of the Gulen network.
In addition to Fuller, infamous former CIA operative and US Ambassador to Turkey, Morton Abramowitz, also wrote a letter backing Gulen as he sought sanctuary in the US. Interestingly, Abramowitz was also the co-author, along with fellow neocons Eric Edelman and Blaise Misztal, of a fiery January 2014 op-ed in the Washington Post that all but demanded that the US topple Erdogan’s government. Yes, chin-scratchingly interesting.
So, let’s see if we got it all down. Gulen leads a multi-billion dollar business empire and charter/private school network with global reach. He is directly connected to two of the most notorious CIA operatives in the recent history of US-Turkish relations. He has a political lobbying network whose tentacles stretch from Washington to Central Asia. Oh, and by the way, according to former Turkish intelligence chief Osman Nuri Gundes, Gulen’s network of schools in the Central Asian nations of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan provided the cover for at least 130 CIA agents in the mid to late 90s.
Now let’s add to that equation the fact that the RAND corporation, one of the most influential think tanks within US policy circles, suggested in a detailed 2004 report entitled Civil Democratic Islam: Partners, Resources, and Strategies that US policy should:
“Support the modernists first, enhancing their vision of Islam over that of the traditionalists by providing them with a broad platform to articulate and disseminate their views. They, not the traditionalists, should be cultivated and publicly presented as the face of contemporary Islam… Support the secularists on a case-by-case basis.”
It would seem that, more than a decade ago, and at a time when Gulen and Erdogan were still friendly, their organizations still allied, that US policy was to push Gulen and the moderate Islamist elements that he and Erdogan represented. It seems quite likely that the falling out between Erdogan and Gulen had less to do with personal issues and egos (though that undoubtedly played a part) than it did with policy and loyalty.
The Geopolitics and Strategy of the Failed Coup
Despite his commendable service to US imperialism in Syria, including hosting both terrorist and Syrian expatriate proxies of the US, Erdogan has clearly upset the apple cart with Washington. Perhaps his most egregious crime came just recently when he issued an apology for the November 2015 downing of a Russian jet. But, of course, it wasn’t the apology itself that set off official Washington, it was the reorientation of Turkish foreign policy away from the US, NATO, and Europe, and towards Russia, China, and the emerging non-western power bloc. This was his grave sin. And it wasn’t the first time, though undoubtedly Washington wanted to make sure it would be his last.
One must recall that Erdogan has a nasty habit of making deals with US adversaries, including the signing of the massive Turk Stream pipeline deal, the decision to purchase missile systems from China (which Erdogan later reneged on), the signing of a lucrative nuclear energy deal with Russia, and many others. In short, for Washington, Erdogan proved to be an unreliable ally at best, and a dangerous political manipulator at worst. So, as with so many leaders who came to be seen that way by the US political elites, he had to go. And Gulen’s network would come in handy.
Perhaps one of the most striking aspects of the events of the failed coup was the use of the NATO base at Incirlik. As the Los Angeles Times noted:
“Turkish officials said the organizers of the uprising were given crucial aid from officers at Incirlik Air Base, a facility that hosts most of the 2,500 U.S. military personnel stationed in Turkey and is a key base for the U.S.-led coalition’s ongoing air campaign to defeat the Islamic State militant group in neighboring Iraq and Syria… official media reported the arrest of the top Turkish military official at Incirlik, Gen. Bekir Ercan Van. Van was among 10 soldiers arrested at the base, part of an operation Turkish officials say provided air-to-air refueling for F-16 fighter jets… [which] were a crucial part of the coup attempt, used to intimidate government supporters in the streets.”
The implications of this information should not be understated. While it is entirely possible that the story was concocted by Erdogan’s people in order to carry out a purge of top military officials perhaps seen as disloyal to Erdogan or much too loyal to secular Kemalists, it is also plausible that the Turkish government’s narrative is correct.
Were that to be the case, then the obvious implication would be that Incirlik was a base of operations for the coup, the locus of Turkish military power behind the coup, and US intelligence and military behind them. Considering the centrality of Incirlik to NATO operations in the Middle East, it is not unreasonable to assume that aside from just military personnel, Incirlik is a node in the global CIA network. In fact, considering that the base is home to both US drones conducting operations in the Syria-Iraq theater, as well as a hub of the US “extraordinary rendition” program, it almost goes without saying that Incirlik houses significant CIA assets.
Seen from this perspective then, Incirlik was obviously pivotal to the failed coup plot, and has since become essential to Erdogan’s purging of his rivals from the ranks of the military. Moreover, it was long a bone of contention between Ankara and Washington, with Erdogan’s government wanting to assert more control over the base than Washington was prepared to allow. In many ways, Incirlik became the nexus of a tectonic shift in Turkish politics, and in the geopolitics of the region.
Ultimately, the failed 2016 coup in Turkey will have lasting ramifications that will impact the years and decades ahead. With Turkey now clearly breaking with the US-NATO-EU axis, it is rather predictable that it will seek to not only mend fences with both Russia and China, but to place itself into the non-western camp typified by BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, China’s One Belt One Road strategy, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, etc.
The failure of the coup is clearly a failure for the US and its allies who see in Erdogan an adversary, not a partner. For his part, Erdogan has much criminal behavior to answer for. From his illegal fomenting of war in Syria, to the purges and arbitrary detentions ongoing in Turkey today, to the attacks on secular institutions and human rights, Erdogan has a rap sheet a mile long. But of course sharing a bed with criminal regimes has never been a problem for Washington.
No, the problem has been, and will continue to be, that Erdogan doesn’t play by the rules; rules set forth by the US. And with this US-backed coup, he will only get stronger. Surely, many sleepless nights lay ahead for the strategic planners in Washington.
The influential Saudi daily Asharq Al-Awsat, which belongs to Prince Faisal bin Salman (son of King Salman), Governor of Madinah, tore into Turkish President Recep Erdogan with a series of vicious attacks that brings to the fore the cracks in the politics of the Muslim Middle East following the failed coup in Turkey last Friday. On successive days, three Op-Eds have appeared, authored by two of the most authoritative establishment talkers in the Saudi media – Abdulrahman Al-Rashed (currently general manager of Al-Arabiya television and formerly editor-in-chief of the daily) and Eyad Abu Shakra (incumbent managing editor of the daily).
The first Op-Ed entitled Will Turkey Boycott the West? by Al-Rashed appeared on Tuesday in the immediate aftermath of the coup attempt in Turkey. Its message to Erdogan was two-fold: a) Do not annoy the West (read US); and, b) There will be dire consequences if Erdogan pressed for the extradition of the Islamist cleric Fetullah Gulen from the US.
Evidently, Erdogan ignored Al-Rashed’s advice and doomsday predictions and went ahead to allege a likely US role in the coup attempt and warn that Washington will be making a “big mistake” if Gulen is not extradited. On Thursday, Shakra and Al-Rashed in separate articles followed up with a scathing attack on Erdogan personally and his politics.
Shakra in his article titled About Erdogan and Turkey’s Coup Attempt condemned Erdogan for the crackdown on ‘Gulenists’ and all but cited Gulen as a torch bearer of political Islam as much as Erdogan claims himself to be. The article hinted that Gulen casts an appeal within the ruling party AKP. Shakra pointedly brought in former president and AKP’s co-founder Abdullah Gul and former prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu). He virtually advised a patch-up between Erdogan and Gulen.
Al-Rashed in a second article alleged that Erdogan is grandstanding on the ‘Arab Street’ and his fate cannot be any different from that of Abdel Gamal Nasser and Sadam Hussein. Worse still, he drew comparison with Imam Khomeini. His article They All Walked This Path also seems to suggest Saudi displeasure that Erdogan draws support from parts of the Arab world. Qatar — whose Emir is close to Erdogan?
What is it that is frightening the Saudi royal family? Prima facie, the disclosures by the famous Saudi whistleblower Mutjahid (who many suspect to be a dissenter within the House of Saud) to the effect that Gulen has strong links with Saudi Arabia and that the powerful deputy crown prince and defence minister Mohammed bin Salman was in the know of the Turkish coup seems to have some basis. There is indeed a tone of panic in the Saudi media attack on Erdogan.
According to Mutjahid, Mohammed bin Salman apparently suspects that the Turkish intelligence knows about the Saudi-UAE role in the attempted coup against Erdogan. (Curiously, according to reports, Turkish military attaché in Kuwait tried to flee to an unnamed western country from the Saudi airport of Dammam before being detained for involvement in the coup attempt.) The Saudi talkers have probably gone on the offensive as the best form of defence, fearing a retaliation by Erdogan.
More importantly, Saudis must be feeling frightened about the manner in which the coup attempt in Turkey was countered by Erdogan, who invoked ‘people’s power’. Shades of ‘Arab Spring’! This is the spectre that always haunted the Saudis – masses pouring out into the streets in their tens of thousands as the final arbiters of political power in a Muslim country. Worse still, this political tactic also leaps out of the manifesto of the Muslim Brotherhood, which poses an existential threat to the Saudi regime.
The point is, from the Saudi viewpoint, the most dangerous thing about Erdogan is not his ‘neo-Ottomanism’ but his close links with the Brothers for whose sake he even sacrificed Turkey’s state-to-state relations with the Egyptian regime of President Abdel Fattah- el-Sisi (who came to power through a Saudi-backed military coup).
Finally, the Saudis are big losers – next only to Israel – in the rapprochement between Turkey and Iran that is getting under way in regional politics. Erdogan told Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during a phone conversation on Tuesday that he is ready to work with Iran and Russia to restore regional peace. The Iranian official news agency quoted Erdogan as saying,
- Today, we are determined more than ever before to contribute to the solution of regional problems hand in hand with Iran and Russia and in cooperation with them.
Of course, such a realignment in the Muslim Middle East would profoundly impact the balance of forces in regional politics, virtually isolating Saudi Arabia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin did on Sunday what no major western leader from the NATO member countries cared to do when he telephoned his Turkish counterpart Recep Erdogan to convey his sympathy, goodwill and best wishes for the latter’s success in restoring constitutional order and stability as soon as possible after the attempted coup Friday night.
The US Secretary of State John Kerry instead made an overnight air dash to Brussels to have a breakfast meeting on Monday with the EU foreign ministers to discuss a unified stance on the crisis in Turkey. The French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault was in an angry mood ahead of the breakfast, saying “questions” have arisen as to whether Turkey is any longer a “viable” ally. He voiced “suspicions” over Turkey’s intentions and insisted that European backing for Erdogan against the coup was not a “blank cheque” for him to suppress his opponents.
The US has expressed displeasure regarding the Turkish allegations of an American hand in the failed coup. Indeed, the Turkish allegation has no precedent in NATO’s 67-year old history – of one member plotting regime change in another member country through violent means. Clearly, US and Turkey are on a collision course over the extradition of the Islamist preacher Fethullah Gulen living in exile in Pennsylvania whom the Turkish government has named as the key plotter behind the coup. Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has warned that Ankara will regard the US as an “enemy” if it harbored Gulen. The dramatic developments expose the cracks appearing in the western alliance system. (See the commentary in the Russian news agency Sputnik entitled NATO R.I.P (1949-2016): Will Turkey-US Rift Over Gulen Destroy Alliance?)
Interestingly, the senior Turkish army officials detained so far include the following:
- Commander of the Incirlik air base (and 10 of his subordinates) where NATO forces are located and 90 percent of the US’ tactical nuclear weapons in Europe are stored;
- Army Commander in charge of the border with Syria and Iraq;
- Corps Commander who commands the NATO contingency force based in Istanbul; and,
- Former military attaches in Israel and Kuwait.
Most certainly, the needle of suspicion points toward the Americans having had some knowledge of the coup beforehand. Two F-16 aircraft and two ‘tankers’ to provide mid-air refuelling for them and used in the coup attempt actually took off from Incirlik.
Of course, Ankara has been wary of the US and France establishing military bases in northern Syria with the support of local Kurdish tribes, which it suspected would be a stepping stone leading to the creation of a ‘Kurdistan’. (The advisor on foreign affairs to Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Akbar Velayati, who is an influential figure in Tehran alleged on Sunday that the US is attempting to create a Kurdistan state carved out of neighboring countries with Kurdish population, which will be a “second Israel” in the Middle East to serve Washington’s regional interests.)
Today, the famous Saudi whistleblower known as ‘Mujtahid’ has come out with a sensational disclosure that the UAE played a role in the coup and had kept Saudi Arabia in the loop. Also, the deposed ruler of Qatar Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani (who is a close friend of Erdogan) has alleged that the US, another Western country (presumably France) had staged the coup and that Saudi Arabia was involved in it. (here and here) Meanwhile, word has leaked to the media that in a closed-door briefing to the Iranian parliament on Sunday, Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif hinted at Saudi and Qatari involvement in the coup.
Putin’s phone call to Erdogan suggests the possibility that Russian and Turkish intelligence are keeping in touch. The two leaders have agreed to meet shortly.
The timing of the coup attempt – following the failure of the US push to establish a NATO presence in the Black Sea and in the wake of the Russian-Turkish rapprochement – becomes significant. Equally, the signs of shift in Turkey’s interventionist policies in Syria would have unnerved the US and its regional allies.
Israel, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have a great deal to lose if Turkey establishes ties with Syria, which is on the cards. Thus, stopping Erdogan on his tracks has become an urgent imperative for these countries. The spectre of the Syrian government regaining control over the country’s territory haunts Israel, which has been hoping that a weakened and fragmented Syria would work to its advantage to permanently annex the occupied territories in the Golan Heights. Again, Turkey’s abandonment of the ‘regime change’ agenda in Syria means a geopolitical victory for Iran. On the contrary, a triumphant and battle-hardened Hezbollah next door means that its vast superiority in conventional military strength will be rendered even more irrelevant in countering the resistance movement. Significantly, Israel is keeping stony silence.
Will the US and its regional allies simply throw in the towel or will they bide their time to make a renewed bid to depose Erdogan? That is the big question. Erdogan’s popularity is soaring sky-high today within Turkey. He can be trusted to complete the ‘vetting’ process to purge the Gulenists ensconced in the state apparatus and the armed forces. The meeting of the High Military Council due in August to decide on the retirement, promotions and transfers of the military top brass gives Erdogan the free hand to remove the Gulenists.
M. K. Bhadrakumar is the former career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service.
As the state of emergency is extended in France in the wake of the recent Nice terrorist attacks, the French public is beginning to lose faith in the state’s ability to protect them. But will they ever really understand the true function of the imperial state?
On July 14th Tunisian citizen Mohammed Lahouaiej Bouhlel allegedly drove a 19 tonne lorry into a crowd of people on the Promenade des Anglais beach front in the city of Nice, France, killing 84 people and wounding 303 others. Richard Gutjahr, a German journalist and actor who is married to former Israeli intelligence (Mossad) agent Einat Wilf, was close to the scene and filmed some of the terrorist attack.
Gutjahr’s Israeli wife, Einat Wilf is a rising star in the world of Zionism and is close to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. So, there is an important Israeli link to the storytelling of the massacre. But perhaps the Israeli link goes further. The Telegraph newspaper reported that a Jewish man did not attend the Bastille Day celebrations after being warned of the attack by his father.
French investigative reporter Eric Laurent shocked television viewers in 2011 when he revealed in that Jews working in the World Trade Centre had been warned about the September 11th terrorist attacks in New York in 2001.
According to the Israeli press, French Jews were also warned about the Bataclan attacks in November 2015.
The Israeli government has admitted it carried out false-flag terrorist attacks in France, blaming them on Muslims.
‘Islamist’ terrorist attacks serve Zionism’s agenda of taking over the Middle East as they demonise Muslims and Arabs, thus criminalising legitimate resistance to Israeli colonialism. ‘Islamist’ terrrorism also drives the Zionist agenda, referred to by Samuel Huntington as the ‘clash of civilisations’- the idea that Muslims have no place in ‘Western civilisation’.
Although the truck slaughtered over 84 people and injured hundreds more, there was no blood visible on the published photos of the vehicle. Perhaps there is a simple explanation for this apparent discrepancy. I hope to see a good ‘debunking’ video or article of the blood problem soon!
We are also informed that police opened up the barricades to the Promenade des Anglais minutes before the attack. There have been reports of up to four trucks in the area that day. Trucks are not authorised to drive through streets during festivals or national holidays. France is in a state of emergency! How is all of this possible?
Bouhlel’s patsy profile
Bouhlel, who was married with three children, was also said to have been a practising homosexual in a relationship with a 73 year old man, frequenting gay bars in the Tunisian city of Souse, where the Mossad have an office. The Mossad have increased espionage in Tunisia since the US/Israeli fomented ‘Arab Spring’ in 2011.
The truck appears to have been parked for nine hours near the Negresco Hotel, which is an infamous gay locale in Nice. There are reports that Bouhlel may have worked as a rent-boy. The identity of his 73 year old ‘partner’ remains unknown. Why?
Homosexuals, who are often the victims of child abuse, are sometimes used by intelligence agencies as double agents and patsies. The terrorist’s sister told the media he had had psychological problems. He is said to have been suffering from a nervous breakdown. Bouhlel had all the classic characteristics of an intelligence patsy.
Although the US/Israeli-created ‘Islamic State’ has been blamed for the Nice Attack, Bouhlel does not seem to have had any links with Islamist organisations. In fact, his profile is remarkably similar to that of Saleh Abdeslam, who was blamed for the Bataclan attack in Paris in 2015 and recent Orlando massacre in the USA – a homosexual, narcotics and alcohol abuser and petty criminal known to the police.
Fides quaerens intellectum
The French people are losing faith in the government, faith in the police, faith in the system. They are beginning to understand something profound- that they are most definitely governed by incompetent fools and possibly even by psychopaths.
Medieval Christendom was characterised by the all-pervasive doctrine of fides quaerens intellectum -faith seeking understanding. The faith of the people in the transcendental authority of God as revealed in the scriptures was supplemented with increasing understanding of their meaning through human reason.
Since the French revolution the bourgeois state has supplanted divine authority and citizens are indoctrinated into the belief in state infallibility concerning observance of the principle of the rule of law. Hitherto, there has been widespread faith in the bourgeois state and understanding of its mysteries has been copiously provided by its myriad sacerdotal institutions. But it now looks like this holy war may be undermining people’s faith in the bourgeois order and its catechism of human rights, democracy and freedom.
It is difficult to believe the story of what happened in Nice. We are told that Bouhlel was shot dead. But another suspect was seen being arrested by police at the crime scene. Who is this suspect? Was there a second terrorist or did Bouhlel rise from the dead? There are too many unanswered questions.
Some videos of the massacre scene posted on line appear to show dummies rather than dead bodies. The authenticity of those videos cannot be verified. But there is little that can be verified in these terrorist attacks as the highly paid press reporters who the public believe ask hard questions and investigate terrorist attacks do not do so. On the contrary, they smugly attack and ridicule citizen journalists and Internet activists for seeking the truth.
The French government is now encouraging youth to join the army reserve. It may become treasonous not to enlist. We are passing from an era where dissent is ridiculed towards an era where dissent is criminalised.
The public is being told to believe a story for which there is scant evidence. Why should they? Why should they believe governments who serve the interests of foreign bond-holders and bankers? Why should they trust a ruling class who, instead of fighting to raise the material, cultural, moral and intellectual welfare of the people, do the opposite, attempting at every opportunity to rob, acculturate, demoralise and stultify the masses?
In his work The Republic Plato described oligarchy as a city-state where the rich are constantly conspiring against the poor. Aristotle in his book on Politics notes how Greek tyrants would take oaths to protect the interests of their class by conspiring against the masses and, in an era long before the surveillance systems of today, Greek tyrants would force citizens to congregate in special areas of the city so that the state could constantly spy on them.
The extraction of surplus value from labour is the primordial conspiracy against human creativity. Is it inconceivable that terrorism would be the art of governance in a world where finance capital and the moral turpitude it engenders, triumphs over honest labour and solidarity; where enterprises of lies and war flout all laws; where the poor man is locked up for minor misdemeanours while wealthy war criminals walk free?
Is it inconceivable that such a class of people would orchestrate the most fascinorous conspiracies against the people? Lenin described the state as the means by which one class represses another. We live in a class dictatorship – where those with property and power use every means necessary to keep the masses under their control. Human freedom is, as Jack London described it, crushed under an iron heel. The entire matrix of commodity production is predicated on lies and deception while man is beholden to its infinite spells and fetishisms.
In the society of the spectacle, who cares if white trucks can slaughter crowds and remain unbesmirched with blood or executed terrorists rise from the dead? Who cares if everything we are told militates against reason? The masters of discourse have a new story for the poor toilers of this world; it is short, simple and palatable enough to be consumed on a junk-food break. We need more security; more surveillance;more war; more respect for wealthy Jews, more contempt for poor Muslims. The world is run by forces beyond our control. Therefore we must submit to the all-merciful police state which is trying to protect us. Those who seek understanding before faith are terrorists.
Elizabeth Richard, 65, seems interested to operate in Lebanon, where she commenced her missions last week. And she, according to the video introducing her at the US embassy, is “interested to get introduced to Lebanon’s natural and cultural heritage (in the video’s background, there are scenes showing the cedars, the Bay Rock and women stuffing vine leaves, edited in a bad and unrefined manner.) The new American ambassador, who visited the “land of cedars” in 2007 under an American initiative to train Internal Security Forces and arm them, seems assertive in her first message to the Lebanese people: “As Lebanon works to save its security and build the strong government’s institutions (…) the American people will stay by your side.” It was a nice diplomatic speech that covers unplanned intentions of the new ambassador, especially regarding her concept of “saving security” and “the state’s strong institutions.” Richard was clearer in her attestation at the congress after she was nominated for the post months ago. Thereat, the specialized in law announced her actual agenda, classifying the “main” problems in Lebanon; all what the Lebanese are suffering from currently in economics, security and politics is because of one single thing: the resistance.
In economics, Richard uncovered a magic equation to deal with the crisis in Lebanon, saying: “our target is to dismantle Hezbollah’s international financial network and help the Lebanese institutions and the Lebanese people, which will contribute directly to activating the economic prosperity in Lebanon.” How would targeting the international funding for resistance lead to refreshing the country’s economy?! Richard didn’t explain this in her testimony; she was not asked to do so in her country, neither the Lebanese government, nor diplomats moved to hold accountable a diplomat who publicly announced that she is going to work from inside Lebanon to fight one of the Lebanese parties that is represented in the parliament and participating in the government! Nobody even dared to demand explanation of the ambassador’s words. Richard, as if she is holding everything in her hands, with the old American unashamed boldness, said she will work hard “not to let Hezbollah break through the Lebanese banking sector” because this is “the interest of Lebanon and the United States.” The new ambassador raised her wand in front of the Lebanese state before she arrived at the host country, yet none of the officials’ sovereignty was touched.
On the security level, Richard had her own philosophy as well. Of course, “Israel” was absent from her speech regarding the security threats Lebanon is subject to, yet ISIL and al-Nusra threats were present. However, the ambassador seems assured in threatening the two organizations that were brought by al-Qaeda. She is convinced that “partnership between the United States and the Lebanese Security Forces, through the generous Congress support, played a decisive role in saving Lebanon’s security facing such threats.” Therefore, there is no fear on the Lebanese people from ISIL and al-Nusra, so what is the first threat Lebanon is subject to according to Richard? The answer is: Hezbollah. “Hezbollah’s activities in Syria create serious security threats in Lebanon,” the ambassador said as she vowed to support the Lebanese army since it is “the only legitimate protector of Lebanon.”
The third “main problem” the Lebanese are suffering from, as Richard identified, is the political void and decrying Lebanon’s independence and sovereignty, which she will also work on solving, this time in cooperation with “the voices calling for moderation and progress.” Against whom? Against “Hezbollah that is still interfering in Syria without the Lebanese consent,” Richard explains. The new ambassador’s swaggering made her talk on behalf of the Lebanese people, without the need to use numeric evidences, even if fabricated, to verify her announcement on the Lebanese people’s accepting or rejecting Hezbollah’s interference in Syria. The conclusion, as Richard informed the congressmen: Hezbollah went to Syria despite the will of most of the Lebanese, which decries Lebanon’s sovereignty and independence.
Usually, western diplomats complain that they couldn’t understand the happenings in Lebanon, and complain about its complicated social structure, economic system and political scene. However, it seems that Elizabeth Richard doesn’t suffer from any of this. Her vision is clear, and so is her single goal: to target the Lebanese resistance through its party, people and money using every possible means.
In her latest post before being appointed to custodianship on the Lebanese people, Richard was the Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the State Department. In her testimony at the congress in July 2015, she boasted the State Department’s achievements; counting the projects she supervised, such as: the initiative to qualify and develop industrial cities, creating job opportunities, activating exportation in Egypt, Jordan and “Israel”, the General Motors agreement to provide Egypt with huge amounts of electric energy, qualifying the railways in Algeria, buying tons of Iraqi rice, encouraging investments in the Gulf countries, supporting the youth initiatives and medical cooperation with “Israel” and the Arab Emirates… Most of the Middle Eastern and North African countries were present, yet Lebanon was absent from the achievements of Richard and her department last year, and now she comes to the weakest country in the region, having in her pocket a single (non-developmental) political project, promises of armament… and a raised wand!
When friends of friends are enemies
A friend recently observed to me that it is ironic that the neoconservatives, whose bottom line foreign policy issue is the uncritical support of Israel, should be obsessed with constantly confronting and goading Russia even though Tel Aviv and Moscow get along just fine. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has traveled to Russia three times in the past year and he and President Vladimir Putin reportedly understand each other very well.
To be sure, part of the reasoning behind the Israeli offering the hand of friendship is certainly demographic and electoral as many Israelis are Russian in origin and also characteristically strongly support recent right wing governments. They are regarded as essential members of Netanyahu’s coalition, but there is clearly more to it than counting votes.
From the Israeli point of view, Russia, though allied with Syria and friendly with Iran, does not threaten Israel and it also is an available resource to help Tel Aviv develop, refine and market its claimed offshore energy resources. Israel, increasingly isolated because of its repression of the Palestinians, is always eager to make new friends who will help protect it in international fora, witness Netanyahu’s recent charm offensive in Africa.
From the Russian point of view, Israel is a useful friend given its unparalleled access to the U.S. Congress, the White House and the American media. The Netanyahu government also understands Moscow’s concerns about radical Islam in the Arab world and Central Asia and is willing to share information that it obtains to contain the problem. For both Israel and Russia terrorism is not an abstraction – it sits right on and even inside their borders.
Even though Israel is undercutting the neocon plan to isolate and punish Russia at every opportunity people like Bill Kristol, the Kagans and John Bolton make no effort to criticize Netanyahu for his temerity. It is a policy of deliberately looking the other way and it underlines the essential phoniness of what the neoconservatives stand for. To put it bluntly, the neocons claim to support American military dominance globally for altruistic reasons but the reality is that they are largely in it for the money as well as the political and media access to power that money brings with it in contemporary America. What would Sunday morning talk shows be like without a beaming Bill Kristol?
And the cash for the neocons comes mostly from defense contractors who are eager to have a clearly defined serious enemy to boost military spending coupled with an articulate group of pundits who insist on seeing threats worldwide and are willing to promote that viewpoint. Keeping the cash flowing to fund that nice corner office with a view of the Capitol even trumps the Israel relationship but the neocons are careful to make sure the two issues never bump up against each other when they are fulminating against Obama’s national security policies.
We are currently witnessing neocon perfidy at its most refined. They are jumping over themselves to support Hillary Clinton for president in spite of her manifest corruption and unreliability because Donald Trump has threatened to do two things: first he has expressed his unwillingness to enter into new wars in the Middle East or anywhere else and second he has stated that Washington should be even handed when attempting to negotiate peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Both are anathema to the neocons and Trump has further complicated matters by indicating that he would be willing to talk with Vladimir Putin. If Trump were to win, many neocons would likely find themselves having to look for a real job, a terrifying prospect for people with few skills to fall back on.
Hillary Clinton on the other hand will do what is right from the neocon point of view – confronting the world one nation at a time starting with Iran, which she has threatened to “obliterate.” She will also need to boost defense spending to support her wars, will stiff Vlad, and will allow Bibi to move in down the hall at the White House as Bill will often be out on the town and his room in the East Wing is not needed.
Hillary’s bellicosity guarantees that the military industrial complex cash machine will continue to operate full speed, driving scores of leading neocons to announce that they will vote for her. Reuel Marc Gerecht, one of the neocons’ favorite Iran bashers, concluded in an article appearing in a recent issue of the Weekly Standard that Hillary’s “not a neoconservative, but Hillary Clinton isn’t uncomfortable with American power. Unlike Obama, she isn’t the apologetic type. Whatever her opinions were in the Vietnam era, she doesn’t now view the Cold War ambivalently. She’s certain that might married right in that struggle, even in the Third World, where Obama and many on the left have serious doubts.” I’m not completely sure what that pompous bit of prose is supposed to mean but Gerecht in a backhanded fashion also provided what is for me a ringing endorsement of Donald Trump, though he of course meant to do the opposite having stated his intention to vote for Hillary, writing “Trump is probably the most anti-interventionist presidential candidate since Eugene V. Debs, the indefatigable socialist, in 1912.”
The issue of Israel has, of course, been somewhat hidden during the lead-up to the major party nominating conventions, with everyone inevitably expressing his or her deep affection for Netanyahu, but it has surfaced somewhat in the Democratic Party platform deliberations where Cornel West and James Zogby attempted to introduce some language critical of the occupation of the former Palestinian West Bank. They failed in that attempt though it is possible that something similar will be introduced from the floor during the actual convention. It will undoubtedly also fail even if it succeeds as it did in 2012 when the presiding chairman seemed to hear more “yea” votes than anyone else present in the hall.
The Republicans, still firmly under control of the neocon foreign policy clique, have outdone the Democrats. On July 12th the platform committee, with input from Jason Greenblatt and David Friedman, advisers to presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump, approved a plank on Israel that does not accept creation of a Palestinian state at all unless Israel decides to take action to permit that to develop. On that and all other issues there will be “no daylight” between the U.S. and Israel. The subcommittee that drafted the position reportedly approved it by an overwhelming majority followed by a standing ovation.
The document calls Israel a “beacon of democracy and humanity.” It states that “support for Israel is an expression of Americanism” and declares that the U.S. Embassy will be moved to Jerusalem. It denies that Israel is an “occupier,” and calls for legislation to combat the “anti-Semitic” Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. The plank could have been written by Netanyahu’s Foreign Ministry or perhaps by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and basically cedes to Israel control over the direction of U.S. foreign policy in a critical and unstable region.
And there has been additional activity in Congress lately regarding Iran, with a large sale of Boeing jets being blocked and three additional bills submitted for consideration that will punish that country by, among other steps, denying it access to international finance. Indeed, the unrelenting neocon hostility towards Iran is a subset of the pro-Israel bias as Tehran is perceived as a problem for Tel Aviv while the arguments made to suggest that Iran threatens Europe and the United States lack any plausibility.
The creation of enemies unnecessarily, as applied to both Iran and Russia, is a symptom of the neoconservative disease. It is a pointless search for full spectrum military dominance that panders to an inchoate fear that the U.S. is surrounded by foes that can only be dealt with by decisive kinetic action which will require large defense budgets. Today’s neo-conservatism is a movement born from a curious amalgam of interests that have come together at a time when the United States is in reality militarily unchallenged worldwide and is threatened neither by any other country nor by the pinpricks inflicted by terrorists. Neocons and their associated liberal interventionists have to an extent dominated the foreign and defense policy thinking of the two major parties and most of the media but their message is ultimately based on emphasizing national insecurity, which in the current context is somewhat inexplicable. The United States has never been more secure internationally, if not domestically, and the only problems it is confronting are themselves part and parcel of the imbroglios that have been engineered by the interventionists and their friends. Speculation is that a Trump victory will actually end their dominance. If that is so, it might just be sufficient reason to vote for Donald Trump.
The Turkish government has indirectly criticized its NATO ally, the US, for harboring Fethullah Gülen, whom Ankara blames for masterminding Friday’s military coup attempt. The cleric is currently living in self-imposed exile in the States.
“I do not see any country that would stand behind this man, this leader of the terrorist gang, especially after last night. The country that would stand behind this man is no friend to Turkey. It would even be a hostile act against Turkey,” Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım told reporters on Saturday, as Turkey was recovering from overnight violence.
Gülen, a cleric, was a political ally of Tayyip Erdogan when he was Turkey’s Prime Minister, but the two fell out and became bitter rivals. Ankara accuses Gülen of creating a “parallel state” in the form of a network of supporters among Turkish officials. Erdogan accused Gülen of masterminding a corruption scandal involving senior government figures in 2013, and launched a crackdown against his organization.
Commenting on Turkey’s hostility towards the 75-year-old preacher, US Secretary of State John Kerry said Ankara hadn’t requested the cleric’s extradition. Speaking during a trip to Luxembourg, the US official said he hoped that Turkey’s constitution will be observed when dealing with those behind the attempted coup. He said accusations against Gülen would have to be backed by evidence of his alleged foul play.
A faction of the Turkish military attempted to topple the government overnight, but failed in its bid. The attempted power grab involved tanks and helicopters, as government buildings were attacked and violent clashes erupted between government loyalists and rebels in Istanbul and Ankara.
The hostilities left over 260 people killed and many others injured. The government has responded to the coup by initiating a massive purge in the military.